Yeah. You read that right.

Our trip to Kansas for a week of family get-togethers and my best friend’s wedding was easily…

The Best & the Worst Trip to Kansas In History.

But it did begin before that.

About two months ago, the kids and I came down with a doozie of a head cold. And it didn’t leave. For me, it turned into a sinus problem that seriously interfered with my sleep abilities. Finally, after a week or two of torture, it left. A week later we got another cold. Honestly, it all runs together in my brain by now. All I know is that about three weeks ago I came down with another cold. And it is still–as I speak–being kicked out of my sinuses. I don’t remember ever having a sinus infection like this. Some nights I got almost no sleep. I would get up, walk around, worship with music for hours, drink tea, and still not be able to sleep. My sinuses being completely closed, I could not sleep breathing the dry, winter air through my mouth. I would wake up and barely be able to close my mouth. Pain. I cried. I prayed. I lifted my hands to God… Ya know, I have kids to take care of. I had a week-long trip to prepare for. I lost my taste buds. For weeks I could taste almost nothing. I lost weight faster than I have in years. 

I am all up for healthy home remedies. But being honest, I have taken more Vitamin C and Vitamin A than you can begin to imagine–the best brands of Vitamin C did nothing. I have eaten garlic. I have drank fresh ginger juice by the quart. I have used essential oils. I did kefir. Probiotics. We finally began to suspect mold, and with some sleuthing, Craig found that the ground under our pier and beam house is very wet. So we are going to remedy that. But there was more than that going on…

I say this at the risk of being misunderstood and maybe ticking a few people off. Sorry in advance. 🙂

Some people in our church, who are very tuned in to God’s voice did a lot of praying for me/us. What they learned was that I was being attacked by the devil for some really amazing things that we had worked on and been freed from in the past months. The attack was sent to wear me down, steal, kill, and destroy what God had done. That made all the sense in the world to us. The things that have come about in our hearts and lives in just the past month have been beyond incredible. So Craig and I stood up and said, no, we will not sit down and scream at God. We will not let go of the good that God has done. We will put our armor on and stand.

Didn’t mean it was easy. The hard stuff went on…and on. I prepared for our trip the best I could, with my brain feeling as though it was in a fog. Thankfully, I only forgot a few things I needed to pack!

We went to Kansas, thinking that maybe the cold will clear up after we get out of our house and the possible mold factor. It didn’t. The entire time we were there, I had a miserable sinus infection. I tasted almost no food the entire time. Often my sinus’ were so tightly shut that my head pounded. I just pushed through it and did my best, but there were definite moments when I wanted to give up. It’s just that there was nowhere to go to give up. You can’t get away from yourself. (Insert crying and laughing emoji.)

We spent the first couple days with my family. All of us were in Kansas except for my brother Joe, his wife, and three darling girls who live in Kenya. We missed them so much! But it was sooo awesome to be with my family again! They are an awesome group. We had a lot of fun. And good discussions!

I somehow got lots of pics of my dad with my kids… 🙂 

My family is quite talented with painting and drawing. Here there is a painting party going on!

This fun happened between a horrible stomach virus that caught many of my family through those days. Every morning we’d get up and check the chat group on facebook to see who had puked their guts out the night before. We felt powerless in the face of this virus. We had traveled to Kansas to be with family. We couldn’t just…not be with them! So we hung out with whoever wasn’t sick at the moment. On Sunday we were finally all together. 🙂 Such a lovely New Year’s Eve day we had at my sister’s house! No, being Kuepfers, we did not stay up late and watch it in. Haha! But the whole day was so good.

Saturday was my best friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful wedding. I was positively miserable that day with my sinus infection, but was just so grateful I could be there! I had to cry as my lovely friend walked up the aisle and met her fiance at the alter. Norma and I have walked through so much together and she is amazing. She will be such a lovely wife. 

Monday was a bit of a catch-up day. You know, relax and prepare for the next family fun. Tuesday kicked off Craig’s family Christmas! Both of our families are in similar stages of life. My family has 13 adults and Craig’s has 10. Both of our families have loooots of little kids with Bomani being the oldest at 7. Craig’s family has 7 babies age 2 and under! In fact, we had a terrible time getting our large family picture taken because there was always at least one baby sleeping! Haha! Finally the last evening we managed. 🙂 Picture to come later after The Story Pro edits and prepares it. 🙂

We had really good times just hanging out together. We didn’t do as much of the game playing, singing, and other activities that are always on the list. This was partly because of sickness and partly (or mostly) because of all the babies in our lives right now! 🙂 

Getting to know cousins who live far away!

Love.

Hair combing party.

Love.

People (especially family) are super important to Daisy. She totally drank in this time in Kansas!

They each had a twin falling asleep on their laps!

Everyone thought Talia was totally laid back until she came up with the idea that she wants to feed herself! No help and no mom! Haha. 🙂 

Gift exchange! So fun. 

Sadly, the stomach flu hit Craig’s family as well. Craig was down one day with nausea, and our three girls were throwing up the day before that.

But the real hit came the night before we left. Every one of the other adults in his family came down with it that night/the next morning. Some of them simply felt bad. Others puked their guts out over and over what felt like all night long. Ah yes, and Enzo was throwing up that night too. I got about 4 hours of sleep between listening to the household puking and Enzo puking and Talia thinking it’s time to party and my sinus’ going shut. The next morning I just got up and said, I am going to do this. So Craig and I packed up and finally around 10:00 we headed back to Texas. Craig had a photo/video shoot scheduled for the next day. We needed to get home.

It was a nightmare of a drive home. Haha! Seriously. We broke any record ever by taking nearly 12 hours to drive google’s 7 hour trek. It started out by our trying to find a Chick-fil-A for lunch, as someone had given us a card. But our gps took us to the airport which was not at all helpful and we lost valuable time. Then on an interstate in Oklahoma, we blew a tire. As in totally blew. So grateful for safety, we made it to the edge of the road. An officer and a triple A dude were extremely helpful, but we lost 2-3 hours by the time we had a fresh tire and were back on the road. By that time I was very hungry but also feeling very bad. I had so little sleep the night before and wasn’t eating properly. And possibly I was also hit with the stomach virus. All in all, the last 4-5 hours home were miserable. I kept a puke bag handy and sat very still. I prayed my little heart out. I tried eating but couldn’t. We kept worship music on and mind over matter, we kept going. The babies were taking turns falling apart from the long drive. Talia was still not eating well from when she had been sick, so she was nursing a lot. Enzo ate very little and was emotionally fragile. We kept going, stopping when we needed to, which seemed to be often. I have never watched the miles pass so slowly. I would check and –unbelievable, we still had hours to go. Dear God, just bring us home…please just get me home…I prayed over and over.

Finally at about 10:20pm, we pulled in. This was after about a half hour of Hazel crying and moaning about her stomach. By that time it was all almost funny. But not really. Haha! I have NEVER Ever been so happy to see home. Ever. Our house was cold, but it was home. I came in and collapsed onto the couch, covered with babies and kids. (laugh and cry here.) We were home. 

I went straight to bed, and God in His mercy opened my sinuses and I slept that night. I nursed Talia often (says Craig, who had to get up and get her for me, as my stomach was still feeling bad…) but I still slept. Shaky but much better the next day, I just sat in my house which was completely trashed with all our traveling stuff, and soaked in that we were home, and I could completely relax. Rest. Get well. Home.

Craig had a video shoot that day, three hours away. He didn’t come home until after 8:00 pm. So it was a bit of a rocky day with my trying to get some strength back and take care of the kids. We had little food around that was ready to eat, so Daisy and I managed to make white bean cupcakes that afternoon, and the kids had fun decorating them. 

And then it was today. And I finally unpacked the rest of our clothes and there is still laundry to finish. 🙂 

There is the story of our trip. The Best and The Worst Ever. 

The good times we had with both my family and Craig’s family totally trumps anything else. And being able to see some long lost friends who came for Norma’s wedding was so good! There are other highlights as well. God has done so many incredible things…the past month has been so AWESOME and so hard but so AWESOME! 

I need to go knock together some food for my hungry family. 🙂 

I am so excited about 2018. God is so amazing! He is so good! Yay for walking with Him!

Peace.

<3

P.S. This post is probably waaaay too much information! Haha! Forgive me. 🙂